Red carpet hairstylist Adir Abergel is the reigning king of the modern updo — this we know is true. But somehow he continues to come up with fresh, new ways to reinvent the chignon. For last night's New York premiere of Carol, he created a braided version on Rooney Mara that, it turns out, is not only breathtaking, but also super easy to pull off at home. "I wanted to keep it classic, but I didn't want to do a low pony or a classic updo," Abergel told Refinery29. "I wanted something that felt modern and chic, with great architectural lines. I'm lucky to have Rooney as a muse because she is always pushing me to think of new ways to do hair back."
While at first glance the style seems complicated, it's actually quite simple. "The duality of texture makes it look like there is a lot happening," he explains. The top is sleek and shiny, the length is soft and fluffy, and the ends are stick straight, which allows for the simple foldover braid to make a major impact. To begin, Abergel created a sharp side part. "My trick is to always start the part at the arch of the eyebrow," he says. With the part in place, he prepped Mara's dry, wavy locks (she arrived with air-dried hair) with a small amount of oil, and flat ironed her hair from roots to tips. It's important to make sure that the ends are super straight, he says.
The duality of texture makes it look like there is a lot happening...
-Hairstylist Adir Abergel
Once ironed, he warmed a dab of Bumble & bumble's Thickening Creme Contour in his hands and applied it only from the roots to the base of where he would be making the braid. "This gives extra shine and a little grit," he says. "But I didn't apply it on the length because I wanted the braid to feel soft." Abergel then created a low ponytail, secured it with a bungee elastic, and loosely braided the tail. He secured the braid with a small black elastic, and then used real gold thread to cover the bottom band. Hold one end while you wrap to be sure to firmly knot the thread, he says. Once secure, Abergel folded the braid against the base of the pony and drove bobby pins through the plait and into the base of the pony until it was secure. Finish with super-fine hairspray. "It's all about playing with texture to create something that's refined," he says. "And the gold thread looks chic without being glitz-y."